Muniellos houses the most native and primitive Astur forest. Visiting Muniellos means to go back in time to redefine how the Northern forests were centuries ago. Once inside their limits, we may be aware of being in a sacred place where the human being does not exist, where the natural elements rule everything.
Photos by: Alex Badía
Apart from being a symbol for a community, Muniellos is also the largest forest area of Asturias, counting with the biggest oak wood in Spain (5,000 hectares) and it is also one of the best preserved Atlantic forests of all Europe. In the year 2000 it was awarded the title of Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO and today it is the most protected natural area in this Principado of Asturias. It is necessary to count with special permission since it can be only visited by 20 people daily. To have access to Muniellos is almost a privilege, because this natural space is a kind of unusual island, located in the Southwest limit of Asturias, where the geographical division between the councils of Ibias and Cangas of Narcea is visible.
This big forest houses three mounts: the one of Valdebois, the one of Muniellos and the one of La Viliella. The first one is located in the council of Ibias while the other two are in Cangas of Narcea. This is an extraordinary natural reserve that houses the biggest biological diversity of all the Cantabrian mountain range, with a large proliferation of fungus, lichens as well as 400 different species of mushrooms. Here there are oaks of different type, some of them have even six metres of diameter, beeches and birches, and in the darkest places there are also holly and yew trees. Ash trees and poplars mix themselves with hazels and bojs. Without doubt, this is the most extensive natural patrimony that well deserves the name of “endless forest” because on the one side, it has geographical limits, but on the other side, it has no limits as regards its natural richness.
Muniellos is firmed down over a paleonthological substratum of more than 500 millions of years of antiquity. Its glacial origin is still present in the famous lagoons of the Peak of la Candanosa which are hidden between valleys, natural paths and summits. The going up to these lagoons: La Peña, Grande, Fonda and La Isla conform one of the most interesting routes for those walking lovers. These lagoons are over 1,400 metres of height, surrounded by a circus of old mountains, and in their water there are reflected all the different tonalities of this forest.
In Muniellos rains a lot, a fact that favours a constant regeneration. A high rainfall and a temperature of 10 degrees in the medium mountain and under 6 degrees in the summits, help preserve a constant and basic humidity for the developing of different natural and native species. Snow is frequent during winter time, sometimes it is covered by snow up to spring what favours the increasing course of water. The valleys of this great forest: La Candanosa, Las Gallegas and La Zreizal, converge into the river Muniellos that after overcoming the narrow gorge of Tablizas, unify itself into the river Narcea. In these three valleys converge at the same time a lot of little streams, “many as days in one year”, according to the popular idiom.
Muniellos camouflages itself at the time of the different seasons. The fog and ice give way to spring, when the forest shows its one thousand colours. Summer is the season when it is most visited, but this forest also shows its splendour in spring and autumn. April and May are on the one side and October and November on the other side the best months to discover it. Although winter is the best season to observe its fauna: more than one hundred and sixty species to admire. Once the leaves have fallen, the roe deer, the chamois, the fox or the wild cat are closest to our prismatics. Wolves, bears and foxes occupy their space in the undergrowth, hidden to the human eyes. Occasionally we can see a golden eagle or nutrias near the numerous shores of the water course. In this territory we can also enjoy a stable population of grouses along all the Astur mountain range.
Information of interestHow to get there:
To zoom drive be exceeded Cangas de Narcea to Ventanueva. The main entrance to this area is from the local road AS-211, which links to the Regional Road AS-15 up to Ventanueva and the Puerto del Connio heads to San Antolín. A 3 km from Ventanueva few the village of Moal is located, where part of a highway road in just over four kilometers leads to Tablizas, where the gatehouse, who will receive us and we will deliver the visiting permit is to start the tour.
There are two possible routes, one longer, steeper and more beautiful in the most bound and prospects gains are much wider, about 10 Km., and a shorter flatter except the final slope, which is on the valley floor, about 6.5 km away. the two have originally the gatehouse and end in the Lagoons, so I unless the physical powers do not permit, normal and more beautiful, is to go for the longest and return in the short
visits must be authorized by the Ministry of Environment, allowing a maximum of 20 visitors per day. The application must be accompanied by name and ID number of each member of the group, and the owner of the group must also provide a photocopy of the ID, address and telephone number.
Please phone 985 279 100 to visite the reserve b> or do it online, booking form